How to Camp – An Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Now I know what you are telling yourself…..I would really like to camp, it looks fun but I have no idea how to camp, what to bring or what to expect. There are a few things that you really have to determine before you can figure out what you need to do to get ready for your camping trip. Answering the following basic questions will guide you to finding your footing.

1. What type of camping have you decided to do? Did you want to RV camp? Camper/Trailer camp? Tent camp? Backpack/Hike camp? Canoe/kayak camp?

Determining the type of camping you want to do can aid you in what sort of equipment and expertise is needed. For example, you would need a vastly different sort of equipment for RV camping versus hiking camping.

Camping descriptions:

RV Camping (or recreational vehicle camping) is most like living at home because you bring a furnished vehicle that you basically live in with you. You can make your RV just as comfy as you like. Everything that you need from home can most likely be brought with you in your RV. All you really need to think about are what foods and personal items you would like to stock it with. This type of camping is generally for the people who do not like to “rough it” but also might like to be social since many times RV are parked fairly near each other or in similar sections. Though there are some normal maintenance items with RVs, you basically park them and live in them.

Camper or Trailer camping is just a step more rugged than RV camping. Many times campers or trailers do not have showers or toilets, unlike most RVs. Depending on the camper or trailer, a refrigerator may not be included either. Generally, camper or trailer camping is more for people who do not like to sleep on the ground or worry about severe weather but still want to get out there.

Tent camping is generally more for people who would like to “rough it.” Tent camping requires you to think about all of your basic needs ahead of time (food, hygiene, restroom requirements, shelter, seeing at night, warmth). There are actually varying levels of tent camping as well. Some people like to bring a tent and shop for all of their needs while others like to camp in more remote areas away from people. Packing for a tent camping trip can be time consuming because you have to think of everything you might need.

Backpacking or Hiking camping is a bit more for the experienced campers. Think about it…everything you think you are going to need you have to be able to strap to your back and carry it for quite a distance. You have to be able to pack well and pack light!

Canoe/kayak camping is much like hiking camping in regards to packing but you have to add another element. You have to make sure that everything is waterproof. Canoe/kayak camping would be for the more experienced camper and of course, for people who know how to canoe and/or kayak.

Recommendations for camping situations:

RV Camping – Shop around and do research before you decide on an RV for purchase. Talk to people who already own them and ask them what they like and don’t like about their particular model. Go to RV dealerships and walk through a bunch of them. Maybe, go as far as renting an RV on a small trip to see what you do or don’t like about RV camping.

Camper/Trailer Camping – Because there might not be amenities like a refrigerator, more setup and forethought is required. You most likely will have to purchase a cooler or two to keep your food and beverages chilled. Also, you may have to think about generators if you would like to run electrical items. Though you might have beds in the camper you may have to put bedding in.

Tent Camping – Think about the type of tent camping you’d like to do. Does my tent have to be lightweight? Waterproof? Wind sturdy? What size tent do I need (family size or just for me)? What terrain will I be camping on? A good camping tent can make all the difference on your trip.

Backpacking/Hiking Camping – Look for lightweight supplies, as you have to carry them all. Equipment research into lighter weight sturdy hiking backpacks is a good idea. Always check ahead of time if the area you wish to hike and camp allows people to do so. Pay attention to “no trespassing” signs and heed them. Check your weather! You need to know what equipment to pack for the weather. It is also recommended that you camp with a buddy. In case something should happen, there should be someone who can go get help.

Canoe/kayak Camping – It might be advisable to take some canoe or kayak lessons (and swimming lessons) before attempting a camping trip in this way. Perhaps you may wish to rent a canoe or kayak to make sure you like the activity before diving in.

2. Where have you decided to go camping? Are you going to be camping in the Desert? Beach? Forest/woods?

This is a very important question to answer in order to figure out your main needs. You’d prepare very differently for desert camping than you would for camping in the forest.

In Desert camping temperatures can have extreme ranges from the heat of the day to the cold of the night. The biggest threats (most of the year) in the desert are the sun and dehydration. It is very important to protect yourself with sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Due to the dry air you are not aware of how much you are perspiring because it evaporates so quickly off your skin.

Beach camping is very nice but you should prepare for it. Due to the nature of sand it is difficult to weigh things down with normal tent stakes. There are tent stakes that are much longer for this specific purpose. You also must be prepared for the possibility that sand could get into everything. Depending on how deep in the sand you’d like to go you should think about the vehicle you are using to get there. Again, with the nature of sand it may be difficult to dig yourself back out. You may wish to bring a shovel or random piece of wood.

Forest/woods are usually great for shelter from rainstorms and sun. They are also great for hammocks but you have to be aware of biting insects and certain itchy plants. Bug spray would be a huge recommendation for camping in the woods.

3. When or what time of the year are you going camping?

Figuring out what type of weather you are going to have to deal with while camping is key. Personally, I think this is the most important information required to plan a proper camping trip. Of course if you have an RV, this information probably doesn’t help you because you aren’t exposed to the elements.

Colder weather camping obviously requires warmer clothes but you may wish to consider a warmer camping sleeping bag regardless of what method of shelter you are using.

Wetter weather camping means that your terrain may be more difficult to deal with. If you are tent camping, it would be recommended to lay a tarp under your tent, look for slightly higher ground to pitch your tent and always use your rain flys.

In hotter weather always make sure to keep yourself hydrated. If you bring your water with you, bring lots. If you are hiking camping, you may wish to consider a water treatment or a camping water filter.

Congratulations on taking your first step toward camping by answering these preliminary questions. You are now on your way to planning for a camping trip tailored more to your specific needs and desires.

Below is a list of general items to take camping. Please take from it what works best for you and your situation. Note: Personal items should be included at your discretion.

Things to take camping:

FIRST AID/SURVIVAL KIT

Prescribed medications
Snake bite kit
Calamine lotion
Insect repellent
Distilled water
Rubbing alcohol
Cotton balls or cotton swabs
Bandages
Moleskin (for sore feet)
Tweezers
Needles
Feminine products
Scissors
Thermometer
Individually wrapped gauze pads
Adhesive tape
Antiseptic
Clean old towel or part of bed sheet folded up
Steristrips (to hold cuts together)
Aspirin
Motion sickness medicine
Pepto Bismol
Aromatic ammonia
Glucose packs (for diabetics)
Water purifying tablets or filtration kit
Razor blades
Waterproof matches & container
Whistle
Solid knife
Hydrogen peroxide
BASICS
Tent (tarp, stakes, rain fly)
Sleeping bag (sleeping pad for under or air mattress)
Pillow
Small hatchet
Flash lights (& good extra batteries)
Camping lanterns (with fuel or good extra batteries)
Disposable butane lighter
Compass
Maps
Hammock
Cooler (& ice)
Water (and/or water filter or water purification tablets)
Clothing (weather appropriate)
Hat
Sunglasses
Good walking shoes
Personal toiletries
Pocket knife
Canteen (or hydration pack)
Firewood (bring or buy at campsite)
Backpack (and/or day pack)
Camping
Games (cards, frisbee, small portable games)
Camera (& good batteries)
S’mores fixings (large marshmallows, graham crackers & Hershey’s® chocolate)
COOKING?
Obviously food (canned & packaged usually do well)
Stove (& fuel or charcoal) or a grill or dutch oven
Pot & pan (and cooking utensils if planning to cook)
Cups & plates & eating utensils
Re-sealable plastic bags
Plastic containers
Paper towel or napkins
Note: If there are bear boxes where you camp…..use them!
THINGS OFTEN FORGOTTEN
Can opener
Wine bottle opener
Utensils
Towels
Soap (dish soap & bar soap)
IN CASE…
Flares
Folding shovel
Tea bags
Broth cubes
Poncho
Candles
Rope or cord (12′ to 24′)
Signal mirror
MREs (military term for “meals ready to eat”)
Suturing kit (for extreme cases)
Fish kit (& 15′ of 10 lbs. line & sinkers & 35mm film container & fish hooks)
Water filter or water purification tablets
Lifejackets (camping near water)
Baking soda (for toothpaste, insect bites, antacid, odors, etc.)

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What Coleman Camping Gear Should You Take on Your Next Camping Trip?

There are many different Coleman camping gear essentials that you can take on your camping trip to make your camping experience one that you will enjoy.

However, you need to think about what type of camping you are doing and what Coleman camping gear you will be able to take on your camping trip. With some types of camping you will not be able to take all of the camping gear that you might want to take.

Really, when you think about it there are a couple different types of camping.

1. Hiking & Backpacking Camping:

With this type of camping you will need to rough it a bit, similar to if you were in the army and only allowed to take what you can fit in a backpack and carry on your back. This kind of camping is usually only done when you are going on a hike. You really need to think about what items you really need when you are hiking to your camping spot because you can’t carry a great deal with you. If you can only get to your camping spot by hiking there, you can only take the absolute essentials.

As well as all your personal needs, a first aid kit, water and food you will also need the following items for backpack camping:

A lightweight sleeping bag that can be stuffed into a compression sack so it’s small. There are many Coleman sleeping bag styles to choose from.
A blow up pillow or pillowcase which you can stuff clothes or a jacket into to make a comfortable pillow. Coleman make a back country pillowcase which is just perfect for a hiking camping trip.
A sleeping pad if you can fit it, such as the Coleman rest easy pad.
A small lightweight backpacking tent, something that is not too heavy and will weigh you down. There are lots of different Coleman camping tent styles which are suitable for backpacking and are available in 1, 2 or even 4 person tents.
A small one burner stove that is lightweight. There are many different Coleman camp stove styles that are suitable for hiking and backpacking. A small one burner stove is all you need and is great because they are very lightweight and easy to fit in a backpack.
A lightweight torch so you see what you are doing at night if you cannot light a fire where you will be camping.
2. National Park or Camp Grounds Camping:

With this type of camping, you can usually get to it by car. When you have a car to bring all your camping needs then you don’t have to worry about only bringing what you can fit in a backpack. If you’re camping in a national park or a camping ground where there is car access, then this type of camping allows you to bring a lot of other items.

There are many different types of Coleman camping gear items that will make your next camping trip to the national park an enjoyable one and they are:

A Coleman camping tent is essential for shelter when camping in the outdoors and they make many different styles of tents and come in all different shapes and sizes depending on how many people you need to accommodate. They also have tents that have many rooms so you can have more space inside for different uses.
Coleman sleeping bags are another essential item that is needed when you go camping. They have many types to choose from in their line up and it will depend on the type of weather you are camping in as to what sleeping bag is needed, because they make various grades of warmth.
A Coleman camp stove will also be needed to cook you meals if there are no cooking facilities or BBQs where you are camping and these are available in different styles, types and sizes depending on your needs.
Coleman Coolers or an esky will help to keep your perishable food items cold.
Coleman camping furniture such as folding tables, chairs and even stretcher beds are among the furniture items you may like to take on your next trip to make it more comfortable.
Coleman lanterns or some sort of lighting system will also help you to see at night when you are cooking if you don’t have a camp fire.
Coleman heaters may also come in handy to keep warm on a cold night especially if you don’t have a camp fire.
3. Camping in a camper trailer, caravan or motor home:

Having a camper trailer, caravan or motor home is the type of camping which a little more luxury. There’s no need for a camping tent, however there are still other Coleman camping gear items which are needed even if you have a camper trailer, caravan or motor home.

Coleman offer many camping items for the luxury camper; things such as portable refrigerators, the Coleman BBQ, camping showers and even a portable toilet are among some of the items that you may like to take on this type of camping adventure.

So when you plan your next camping trip think about what style of camping you will be doing and match is with the different types of Coleman camping gear that is available to make your camping trip one that you will enjoy in comfort.

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